Tear Them Down

It’s an image that we armchair philosophers have been discussing for several days now, this picture of a crowd of anti-racism protesters in Durham NC pulling down a statue. Yes, many of us agree, it is time and past time for these statues to come down. They were so often placed in public places specifically as a show of white supremacy. Yes, they must come down. But, we tell ourselves and each other, there’s order and decorum to be considered. We don’t want to become vandals. And so on.

I think it’s crucial that we who are standing against racism in these days maintain the high ground, that we don’t let ourselves become mindless mobs, that we avoid violence.

But the more I think about this image, the more it fills my soul. Here is the metaphor we need for dismantling racism. We are pulling down the monuments to our slave-holding past. Not erasing our history, by any means, by giving ourselves a visual image for destroying its continuing power within our social structures.

I am speaking to my white Friends: May we take this image inside us, find the edifices to white supremacy that linger in the streets and plazas of our souls, and pull them down, in acts of defiant and revolutionary love.

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